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Honeymoon Paradise for Less (You MUST See the Perks!)
Real talk from a bride-to-be: Never did I fully comprehend the huge buildup and subsequent letdown of sketching out a honeymoon plan until I got engaged. Years ago, before even I met my fiancé, I naturally assumed that the grown-up me would go on a romantic, Ulysses-esque epic honeymoon journey. Maybe we'd see the Acropolis in Athens, swing through the Piedmont region of Italy to sample Barolos, stop in French Polynesia to admire exotic birds from an overwater bungalow, take the train to the South of France for aromatherapy in fields of lavender, taste street food in Thailand, and then spend a night or two in L.A. in a hotel with a full view of the Hollywood sign en route home to New York... I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea. I was gonna go big. Now close your eyes and imagine the sound of a record needle screeching and young dreams shattering, because that's what happened when I entered the preliminary figures for my wedding budget into an Excel spreadsheet. That initial lump sum of money that would have been perfect for embarking on a mini 'round-the-world excursion quickly got chopped in half, and then in half again, and then in half again due to the cost of having to actually get married and hold a reception. Whatever amount is left over is fair game, but waving buh-bye to all of that cash is, ironically, heartbreaking. To all the brave couples who eloped; created a honeymoon registry on a site like Honeyfund, Zola, or Blueprint Registry; or threw a modest wedding in order to spend on a massive trip later, you have my utmost respect...and envy. Like many of you who are mapping out a post-wedding escape, I'm going to have to cut honeymoon costs where I can once we nail down a destination. But if there's one thing I believe, it's that Budget Travelers shouldn't have to sacrifice the perks they fantasize about in order to vacation within their means. In that spirit, we found six affordable honeymoon resorts and hot spots that not only welcome newly married couples, but offer a slew of free extras—we're talking complimentary bubbly, on-the-house farm-to-table meals, and free activities like nighttime concerts. Because when you're looking to take a breather from wedding madness and get to know your partner better, those little add-ons are priceless...or so I've heard. Negril, Jamaica: Sunset at the Palms Prepare for Romance with a capital "R" at the all-inclusive, adults-only Sunset at the Palms resort, which consistently gets high marks from travelers for its romance quotient and intimate, tropical atmosphere (think 10 acres of lush gardens and rustic, elevated treehouse-style bungalows with Asian-inspired decor). Cost: From $226 per couple, per night, all-inclusive Perks for lovers: Stay five nights or more and get a free bottle of champagne and 15 percent off spa services. (Mention the Free Honeymoon Package.) An upgrade to the Romance at Sunset package that includes a massage and four-course dinner is available at an extra cost, but if you're trying to work within your budget (and who isn't), the Sunset chain offers a honeymoon registry through Honeymoon Wishes so your guests can gift you everything from safaris to indulgent spa services like milk-and-honey body wraps. There is, however, a service and handling fee of up to 9.65 percent that you and the gift purchaser are responsible for, so if that bugs you, you might be better off asking for cash-stuffed envelopes instead. Walla Walla, Washington: Marcus Whitman Hotel How does a no-cost glass of wine or two sound after all that anticipated wedding hooplah? If your answer is "oustanding," consider Washington's wine country, says Dr. Pepper Schwartz, author of Places for Passion. The Marcus Whitman Hotel downtown can serve as home base. "There are numerous wine tasting places within a few blocks, many of which will not charge for the chance to sample their wines," she says. Cost: From $125 per couple, per night Perks for lovers: The Marcus Whitman has a free hot breakfast, and complimentary wine from surrounding tasting rooms is plentiful, even on non-"barrel" weekends, when winemakers show off their new vintages and dole out samples. Check out the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance's website for more information. Nassau, Bahamas: Breezes Resort & Spa Who wants a free wedding? "Super-inclusive," no-tipping-allowed Breezes Resort & Spa on Nassau's Cable Beach offers a complimentary Endless Love package that provides a wedding planner, cake, officiant, marriage license, bouquet/boutonniere, champagne, music and festive decor, and four guest passes. Also available gratis upon request: a sand ceremony, jumping the broom, and a unity candle lighting. Aside from weddings, the 391-room resort has a restaurant equipped with loveseat-style tables for two in their Garden of Eden restaurant and a rule that all resort guests must be 14 years or older. Cost: $200 per person, per night, all-inclusive (check the resort's deals page for discounts) Perks for lovers: Did we mention the free wedding? Even if you're getting hitched somewhere else, all honeymooners get in-room fresh fruit and sparkling wine. Marfa, Texas: El Cosmico hotel and campground Earthy couples, if all you want after you tie the knot is calm and reconnection in a hip, artsy, pared-down atmosphere, El Cosmico "nomadic hotel and campground" in the Texas desert is for you. Pick a tepee, yurt, trailer, or tent to sleep in—but know that this isn't your grandpa's campsite. You're welcome to go spartan with an $85-per-night tent and use the communal kitchen and bathhouse, but even the top-end restored vintage Imperial Mansion trailer is affordable at $170 a night, and it comes with its own full kitchen, bath, heat/AC, and private cedar deck, with two Acapulco chairs for gazing out on the West Texas evening together. Cost: From $85 per couple, per night Perks for lovers: Quiet hours start at 11 p.m. every night. Free outdoor concerts called Sunset Soundtracks occur under the stars at regular intervals, as do reasonably priced classes like craft-spirit-making sessions. When evening rolls around, rent a wood-fired hot tub for four hours for $85—the hotel will stoke the fires for you (don't worry, that's not a euphemism). Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: Barceló Bávaro Beach If a veritable king and queen's banquet of honeymoon perks at a value rate appeals to you and your new spouse, Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, offers nice extras for cheap, says Susan Breslow, honeymoons expert at About.com. One example: the adults-only, all-inclusive resort Barceló Bávaro Beach, a 589-room behemoth with nine à la carte restaurants perfect for having romantic dinners sans the buffet-table lines. Cost: From $168 per person, per night, all-inclusive Perks for lovers: Barceló's In Love package is completely free. Here's what you get: a room upgrade, late check-out, a bottle of sparkling wine delivered to the room, honeymooners' T-shirts (because why not?), a 15 percent discount on spa services, a 10 percent discount on tours with Vacaciones Barceló, and a printed picture from the photo shop. Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania: Glasbern Inn R&R is inescapable at the Glasbern Inn, a country retreat that offers elopement packages (larger, full wedding packages are available too). As honeymoon accommodations go, relationships expert Schwartz says the half-timbered rooms, fireplaces, and beautiful grounds are darn near unbeatable, especially in the wintertime. Cost: From $150 per couple, per night Perks for lovers: A full country breakfast for two is included, as are free farm walking trails for private strolls. Even one of the least expensive Main Barn rooms has a whirlpool and a separate private sun room. Do you have any honeymoon-planning advice for me? I need all the help I can get! Tell me your best advice in the comments.
Canada's worst decision ever
We're deep in the production of our May food issue, and so food is very much on the brain in Budget Travel offices these days. We're awash in microdistilled gin from Brooklyn, chips from Taiwan, and wine from Walla Walla. (If you have a good idea for coverlines, we're all ears!) In reading about some new restrictions for food carts in Vancouver, I fell into an online food cart coma after discovering this terrific web site: vancouverstreeteats.ca. The name of the site, run by an intrepid duo who identify themselves only as "James and Amy," belies its geographic breadth, which ranges from Texas to Thailand and has news and information on food carts—and the fascinating people who run them. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('f8a67ea7-6712-4d8f-bd59-1c5496948233');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Up until last year, street vendors in Vancouver were only allowed to sell popcorn, chestnuts, and hot dogs. When that ban was lifted, the floodgates opened to the international community and the number of carts skyrocketed. However, a new city council ruling has approved an initiative to expand the number of "healthy" street options, limiting hot dogs in favor of fare like squash and quinoa. While I'm as cautious as the next traveler about eating off the ground, I will happily eat out of a tin-can contraption on a corner. And god knows, I'm not looking to limit my caloric intake when I do so. In my experience, eating street food has been the surest way to get the flavor of a city. Not to mention that you are guaranteed to meet the chef. This new city ban brings the potential to squash a burgeoning foodie creativity. And what a shame that might be. I'm all for healthful food, but when it comes to carts, and tasting your way through a city while standing, arteries aren't necessarily this hungry traveler's primary concern. Deliciousness is. What's the tastiest, and most unusual thing you've ever eaten from a street cart? See more from Budget Travel The World's Best Street Food How to Eat Street Food Without Ruining Your Trip See more from Budget Travel The World's Best Street Food How to Eat Street Food Without Ruining Your Trip
Which destinations are on your radar?
It's that time of year for taking stock of where we've been and where we're headed, not just in our daily lives, but in our travels. When we recently asked readers how the weak dollar is affecting their plans, we received a flood of more than 200 comments. Many discussed seeking out alternatives to Europe—such as Argentina, Thailand, India, Croatia, and China—and staying closer to home (Alaska, Texas). We have our own list of places that have recently piqued our interest (more on that after the jump), and we'd like to hear from you: Where are you headed in 2008? Photo of a little cove in Bermuda, between Warwick Bay and Horseshoe Bay, by Buff Strickland (yes, that's his real name). Montenegro: a newly independent country that's small in size, but big on the next-destination map. Lalibela, Ethiopia: Home to 11 intriguing ancient churches carved into the Ethiopian earth. Brooklyn, N.Y.: These days, the most interesting part of New York is across the East River. Sangkhla Buri, Thailand: A Thai cultural melting pot with Buddhist monks who are commonly spotted crossing the old wooden bridge at sunrise. New Orleans, La.: As the city continues to rebuild for years to come, there's plenty to rediscover. Bermuda: With sand as soft as sifted flour, blue-green water, and an influx of low-cost flights and affordable lodging, the island has never been more appealing. Caraíva, Brazil: A car-free, rustic beach town at the southern tip of the Brazilian state of Bahia. Waitsburg, Wash.: Near Walla Walla, the sleepy town has neat shops and cafés like the Whoop, a hit with both wheat farmers and wine snobs. Yarra Valley, Australia: You don't have to like wine to enjoy this region northeast of Melbourne (but it helps).
More Places to go
Waitsburg is a city in Walla Walla County, Washington, United States. The population was 1,217 at the 2010 census. Waitsburg has a unique city classification in Washington state, being the state's only city which still operates under its territorial charter.
Pendleton is a city and the county seat of Umatilla County, Oregon. The population was 17,107 at the time of the 2020 census, which includes approximately 1,600 people who are incarcerated at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution.Pendleton is the smaller of the two principal cities of the Hermiston–Pendleton Micropolitan Statistical Area. This micropolitan area covers Morrow and Umatilla counties and had a combined population of 92,261 at the 2020 census.
The Tri-Cities are three closely linked cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland) at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers in the Columbia Basin of Eastern Washington. Each city borders one another, making the Tri-Cities seem like one uninterrupted mid-sized city. The three cities function as the center of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area, which consists of Benton and Franklin counties. The Tri-Cities urban area consists of the city of West Richland, the CDPs of West Pasco and Finley, as well as the CDP of Burbank, despite the latter being located in Walla Walla County. The official 2016 estimate of the Tri-Cities MSA population is 283,846, a more than 12% increase from 2010. 2016 U.S. MSA estimates show the Tri-Cities population as over 300,000. The combined population of the three principal cities themselves was 193,567 at the 2010 Census. As of April 1, 2016, the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Forecasting Division estimates the cities as having a combined population of 217,430.The Tri-Cities Airport is located in Pasco and provides the region with commercial and private air service. Pasco is the seat of Franklin County, while the other two cities are located in Benton County. In 2010, Kiplinger rated the Tri-Cities among the Top 10 best places to raise a family, and CNN/Money ranked the Tri-Cities one of the top 10 best bets for gains in housing value, due to its relatively stable economic conditions since the early 2000s.
Union County is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,748. Its county seat is La Grande.Union County comprises the La Grande, OR Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is one of the eight counties of eastern Oregon.